The Corporation for New Milford Economic Development has announced a new program to help small New Milford businesses acquire critical safety equipment that may be required as part of the state’s re-opening guidelines.

The board of directors of The Corporation met last week and unanimously approved repurposing approximately $15,000 of its Sign and Façade Grant Fund to activate the program.

“The COVID-19 economic crisis has hit our independent businesses in New Milford extremely hard,” said Oley Carpp, chairman of The Corporation.

“Many are currently closed or have very limited operations and cash flow to keep their business functioning,” Carpp said. “We hope to relieve some of the pressure by donating critical equipment these businesses need to demonstrate in-store safety.”

The program will be on a first-come, first-served basis and is available to small, independent New Milford businesses only.

The Corporation’s effort will focus on providing plexiglass sneeze guards for businesses that have face-to-face interactions with customers.

As part of the application, which can be obtained by emailing Karen Pollard at kpollard@newmilford.org, business owners can request additional durable equipment needed such as touch-less infrared thermometers.

The Corporation will review and approve requests on a case-by-case basis.

The Corporation is actively fundraising among individuals and larger businesses to increase the amount available for the initiative.

To date, an additional $3,000 pledge has been made by a local business to help expand equipment purchasing.

“We’re in unchartered territory with this crisis but I believe New Milford’s business community is strong and resilient,” continued Carpp. “We’re here for local business and here to continue help find creative solutions and access to resources as best we can.”

As part of honoring the spirit and resilience of New Milford’s business community, The Corporation encourages business owners to promote the hashtag #OpenUpNewMilford on social media when sharing plans for re-opening and other important updates.